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Richmond Performance Evaluation A Joke?
February 17, 2003

As a member of the four person "Evaluation Committee" appointed by Mayor Anderson, I joined my three committee colleagues in breaking with tradition and recommending hiring a professional consultant to assist with the annual evaluation of one of the four City employees who works directly for the City Council instead of the city manager.

The rest of the Council agreed, and to assist in this process, we engaged Jayne W. Williams, an attorney and a principal of Meyers and Nave in San Leandro, CA., at a cost of $16,225. She has 28 years of municipal law experience, including serving as the city attorney for Oakland, Suisan City and Stockton.

After interviewing City Council members and a number of City staff members, Ms. Williams produced a 40-page report with detailed recommendations for changes to make the office more effective and efficient. As a personnel matter, both her report and the various responses to it are confidential. Suffice it to say that many of her recommendations were not embraced by the City Council, and in case of conflicts in opinion between Ms. Williams and the employee being evaluated, the City Council majority routinely supported the employee.

The end result was that the employee was recommended for a substantial raise (although, to be fair, it was in the mid-range of salaries for comparable cities), and no performance objectives were adopted for the next year.

I do not believe that the City Council made the best use of the professional assistance we engaged to assist in this endeavor and that it was essentially a waste of my time and the City's money. I asked Mayor Anderson to remove me from the Evaluation Committee.

The next employee scheduled to be evaluated by the City Council is the city manager.

You may recall that annual evaluations of the City's 1,200 or so employees are also bring conducted this year for the first time.